Len Bailey, whose DFVpowered JW Automotive Gulf Mirage G R8 design won the 1975 Le Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx, died on June 23, aged 68. An influential figure in Ford sportscar circles ’60s, Bailey developed the GT40. JW’s evolution of the car won Le Mans in 1968 with Rodriguez/ Bianchi and 1969 with Ickx and Oliver.
Bailey’s sleek Ford F3L, built around the DFV engine, never fulfilled its potential like later JW Mirages. He also penned the 1972 Politoys car for Frank Williams’s fledgling Grand Prix team, the funding of which was inadequate at the time.
Frank Nichols, founder of Elva Cars has died. He was 76. He founded Elva in 1955, producing kits for Ford sidevalve engines and Elva sports-racing cars including the famed Porsche-powered Mk7 and Mk7S BMW. After selling his interest to Trojan, he left motorsport and went on to build ‘Brede’ class life-boats for the RNLI until poor health forced his retirement.
Historic rally stalwart Ignacio Sunsundegui has died on the Panama-Alaska marathon. A hotelier, he was in his mid-50s. ‘Sun Sun’, won last year’s Targa Espana and the 1993 Classic Marathon in a Lotus Cortina. “Ignacio was always smiling,” said Mike Summerfield of the Classic Rally Association. “Despite limited English, he had a welcome for everyone.” He is survived by his partner Ana Goni and four children.